Sunday August 31 2014

I’m rich and pay debts, says Museveni

President Museveni. File PHOTO

President Museveni. File PHOTO 



President Museveni has said he is one rich man who promptly pays his debts.
Speaking during the launch of the Shs4.8 billion Pride Microfinance headquarters in Kampala on Friday, Mr Museveni said he once borrowed an amount of money which he didn’t disclose and repaid it within three months despite the bank’s appeal to extend the repayment period.

“I borrowed some money from a bank at a time that the interest rate was at 30 per cent. But I promised to pay it back within three months. And I did that in spite of the high interest rate,” President Museveni said.
He continued: “I am saying this because I am a rich man and that is why I paid them in three months even though they told me my repayment period is longer.”
However, Mr Museveni was also of the view that it is good practice for anybody to pay up debts irrespective of social status in the society.

“…even small people can pay back debts. This is important because others can also get a chance to borrow it or you (the same person) could come back and borrow again,” he added.
Speaking about the journey that Pride Microfinance has made since its inception 19 years ago, Mr Museveni said he is proud of the milestone that the lender to the micro small and medium enterprises has registered, saying the institution has since come of age.
“I am impressed by the money that you lend every year and after the testimony from one of our daughters in West Nile that one can borrow and repay for others to also borrow, means that I do not need to worry about Pride Microfinance anymore,” the President said.

Bank tasked
He also assigned the management of Pride Microfinance whose board chairman is Mr Charles Olweny together with the Ministry of Finance to document areas that benefits most from the microfinance services while also detailing reasons as to why other sectors are not into the financial institutions services.

In her speech, Finance minister Maria Kiwanuka said more than a trillion shillings from different sources have been mobilised by government to boost agriculture and enhance the performance of small and medium enterprises.

Mr Olweny said the success and growth of the government-owned institution is as a result of the country’s political stability, steady board leadership and observance of good governance by the team lead by Ms Veronica Gladys Namagembe, the Pride Microfinance Managing Director.

In an interview with the Ms Namagembe, it emerged that 19 per cent of the loans disbursed go to agriculture, a sector the President was keen to know about after disclosing that the amount of money he borrowed and paid back within three months was invested in agriculture.

And 64 per cent goes to trade and commerce and the remaining percentage goes to other services. She said the target of their clients are micro and small, medium enterprises.
She also disclosed that challenges such as the introduction of taxes on agricultural sector and inadequate deposits, partly due to poor saving culture of Ugandans, are some of the disturbing issues the industry is grappling with.

THE 19-YEAR JOURNEY OF Pride Microfinance Bank
Background: Pride Microfinance Bank was founded in 1995, as a non-governmental organisation, with the support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation. Its major objective was to offer credit to the poor, targeting those in the agricultural sector, especially the women.

In 1999, it was incorporated as a limited company and changed names to Pride Africa Uganda Limited. In 2003, the Uganda government acquired 100 per cent shareholding in the enterprise, changing the name to Pride Microfinance Limited.

In 2005, it attained the status of an MDI according to the Banking Act of 2003. It is licensed and supervised by the Bank of Uganda.
What it does: Pride Microfinance is a Deposit-taking Institution (MDI). It provides financial services to a segement of a population that is not attended to by commercial banks.

Its focus is the micro, small and medium size entrepreneurs.
Assets: As of December 2013, the institution’s total assets were valued at approximately $56million (about Shs147 billion), with shareholders’ equity of approximately $18million (about Shs46 billion).

Employees & Clientele: As of December 2013, Pride Microfinance employed 585 people and served 373,667 customers